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Humanities Research: Volume XX, Number 1, 2023 »

Public Humanities of the Future: Museums, Archives, Universities and Beyond

Edited by: Kylie Message, Robert Wellington, Frank Bongiorno
Publication date: 2022
‘Public Humanities of the Future: Museums, Archives, Universities and Beyond’ explores the roles, responsibilities and challenges of the humanities in 2022 and beyond. It examines if and how our public cultural institutions and disciplines engage ethically and meaningfully with the challenges of contemporary life, and sheds light on how the conception and practice of humanities research is developing institutionally as well as through collaboration with partners and communities beyond the university context. This high-profile publication marks a number of historic moments, including the increasing urgency of the humanities in contemporary life, as well as the rapid development of interdisciplinary, digital and public humanities over the last decade, and the opportunities for international collaboration reflected in the post-COVID 19 resumption of international travel in 2022. It also marks the 50th-year anniversary of the Humanities Research Centre at The Australian National University, and the re-launch of Humanities Research.

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The Australian Embassy in Tokyo and Australia–Japan Relations »

Publication date: 2022
Australia–Japan relations have undergone both testing and celebrated times since 1952, when Australia’s ambassadorial representation in Tokyo commenced. Over time, interactions have deepened beyond mutual trade objectives to encompass economic, defence and strategic interests within the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. This ‘special relationship’ has been characterised by the high volume of people moving between Australia and Japan for education, tourism, business, science and research. Cultural ties, from creative artists-in-residence to sister-city agreements, have flourished. Australia has supported Japan in times of need, including the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake. This book shows how the Australian Embassy in Tokyo, through its programs and people, has been central to these developments. The Embassy’s buildings, its gardens and grounds, and above all its occupants — from senior Australian diplomats to locally-engaged staff — are the focus of this multi-dimensional study by former diplomats and expert observers of Australia’s engagement with Japan. Drawing on oral histories, memoirs, and archives, this volume sheds new light on the complexity of Australia’s diplomatic work in Japan, and the place of the Embassy in driving high level negotiations as well as fostering soft power influences. ‘With a similar vision for the Indo-Pacific region and a like-minded approach to the challenges facing us, Australia and Japan have become more intimate and more strategic as partners. I am very pleased to see this slice of Australian diplomatic history so well accounted for in this book.’ — Jan Adams, AO, PSM, Secretary, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia’s Ambassador to Japan, November 2020–June 2022

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Suva Stories »

A History of the Capital of Fiji

Edited by: Nicholas Halter
Publication date: 2022
Suva Stories explores a fascinating tapestry of histories in one of the Pacific’s oldest and most culturally diverse urban centres, the capital of Fiji. Charting the trajectory of Suva from indigenous village to colonial hub to contemporary Pacific metropolis, it draws on a rich colonial archive and moving personal memoirs that bear witness to their time. The diverse contributions in this volume form a complex mosaic of urban lives and histories that contribute fresh insights into historical and ongoing debates about race, place and belonging. Suva Stories is a valuable companion to those seeking to engage with the city’s pasts and present, and will prompt new conversations about history and memory in Fiji.

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Made in China Journal: Volume 7, Issue 1, 2022 »

Publication date: August 2022
Cultural theorist Svetlana Boym famously distinguished two types of nostalgia: a restorative one that ‘manifests itself in total reconstructions of monuments of the past’; and a reflective one that ‘lingers on ruins, the patina of time and history, in the dreams of another place and another time’. But nostalgia is not necessarily only backward-looking. Rather, it can represent a feeling of longing for a future yet to be lost or even realised. For the historian Roxanne Panchasi, nostalgia may originate in the ways in which people anticipate and plan their lives around an expected future. This anticipated future, Panchasi intimates in her 2009 book Future Tense, ‘can tell us a great deal about the cultural preoccupations and political perspectives of the present doing the anticipating’. In these and other ways, nostalgia can actualise in cultural expression and performance within communities of nostalgia and as immersive environments that shine a light on past trauma to move closer to reconciliation. Contributors to this issue of the Made in China Journal explore the workings of nostalgia in people’s memories and spaces in China from a variety of perspectives to uncover how and why admirers of the Maoist and post-socialist eras express their longings for pasts real, imagined, and somewhere in between.
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Histories of Australian Rock Art Research »

Publication date: 2022
Australia has one of the largest inventories of rock art in the world with pictographs and petroglyphs found almost anywhere that has suitable rock surfaces – in rock shelters and caves, on boulders and rock platforms. First Nations people have been marking these places with figurative imagery, abstract designs, stencils and prints for tens of thousands of years, often engaging with earlier rock markings. The art reflects and expresses changing experiences within landscapes over time, spirituality, history, law and lore, as well as relationships between individuals and groups of people, plants, animals, land and Ancestral Beings that are said to have created the world, including some rock art. Since the late 1700s, people arriving in Australia have been fascinated with the rock art they encountered, with detailed studies commencing in the late 1800s. Through the 1900s an impressive body of research on Australian rock art was undertaken, with dedicated academic study using archaeological methods employed since the late 1940s. Since then, Australian rock art has been researched from various perspectives, including that of Traditional Owners, custodians and other community members. Through the 1900s, there was also growing interest in Australian rock art from researchers across the globe, leading many to visit or migrate to Australia to undertake rock art research. In this volume, the varied histories of Australian rock art research from different parts of the country are explored not only in terms of key researchers, developments and changes over time, but also the crucial role of First Nations people themselves in investigations of this key component of their living heritage.

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Capital and Inequality in Rural Papua New Guinea »

Publication date: July 2022
That large-scale capital drives inequality in states like Papua New Guinea is clear enough; how it does so is less clear. This edited collection presents studies of the local contexts of capital-intensive projects in the mining, oil and gas, and agro-industry sectors in rural and semi-rural parts of Papua New Guinea; it asks what is involved when large-scale capital and its agents begin to become significant nodes in hitherto more local social networks. Its contributors describe the processes initiated by the (planned) presence of extractive industries that tend to reinforce already existing inequalities, or to create and socially entrench novel inequalities. The studies largely focus on the beginnings of such transformations, when hopes for social improvement are highest and economic inequalities still incipient. They show how those hopes, and the encompassing socio-political transformations characteristic of this phase, act to produce far-reaching impacts on ways of life, setting precedents for and embedding the social distribution of gains and losses. The chapters address a range of settings: the PNG Liquid Natural Gas pipeline; newly established eucalyptus and oil palm plantations; a planned copper-gold mine; and one in which rumours of development diffuse through a rural social network as yet unaffected by any actual or planned capital investments. The analyses all demonstrate that questions around land, leadership and information are central to the current and future social profile of local inequality in all its facets.
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Designing Social Service Markets »

Risk, Regulation and Rent-Seeking

Publication date: 2022
Governments of both right and left have been introducing market logics and instruments into Australian social services in recent decades. Their stated goals include reducing costs, increasing service diversity and, in some sectors, empowering consumers. This collection presents a set of original case studies of marketisation in social services as diverse as family day care, refugee settlement, employment services in remote communities, disability support, residential aged care, housing and retirement incomes. Contributors examine how governments have designed these markets, how they work, and their outcomes, with a focus on how risks and benefits are distributed between governments, providers and service users. Their analyses show that inefficiency, low‑quality services and inequitable access are typical problems. Avoiding simplistic explanations that attribute these problems to either a few ‘bad apple’ service providers or an amorphous neoliberalism that is the sum of all negative developments in recent years, the collection demonstrates the diversity of market models and examines how specific market designs make social service provision susceptible to particular problems. The evidence presented in this collection suggests that Australian governments’ market-making policies have produced fragile and fragmented service systems, in which the risks of rent-seeking, resource leakage and regulatory capture are high. Yet the design of social service markets and their implementation are largely under political control. Consequently, if governments choose to work with market instruments, they need to do so differently, working with principles and practices that drive up both quality and equality.

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Rethinking Social Media and Extremism »

Publication date: June 2022
Terrorism, global pandemics, climate change, wars and all the major threats of our age have been targets of online extremism. The same social media occupying the heartland of our social world leaves us vulnerable to cybercrime, electoral fraud and the ‘fake news’ fuelling the rise of far-right violence and hate speech. In the face of widespread calls for action, governments struggle to reform legal and regulatory frameworks designed for an analogue age. And what of our rights as citizens? As politicians and lawyers run to catch up to the future as it disappears over the horizon, who guarantees our right to free speech, to free and fair elections, to play video games, to surf the Net, to believe ‘fake news’? Rethinking Social Media and Extremism offers a broad range of perspectives on violent extremism online and how to stop it. As one major crisis follows another and a global pandemic accelerates our turn to digital technologies, attending to the issues raised in this book becomes ever more urgent.
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Uncovering Pacific Pasts »

Histories of Archaeology in Oceania

Publication date: June 2022
Objects have many stories to tell. The stories of their makers and their uses. Stories of exchange, acquisition, display and interpretation. This book is a collection of essays highlighting some of the collections, and their object biographies, that were displayed in the Uncovering Pacific Pasts: Histories of Archaeology in Oceania (UPP) exhibition. The exhibition, which opened on 1 March 2020, sought to bring together both notable and relatively unknown Pacific material culture and archival collections from around the globe, displaying them simultaneously in their home institutions and linked online at www.uncoveringpacificpasts.org. Thirty‑eight collecting institutions participated in UPP, including major collecting institutions in the United Kingdom, continental Europe and the Americas, as well as collecting institutions from across the Pacific.
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Experiments with Marxism-Leninism in Cold War Southeast Asia »

Publication date: 2022
One of the most contentious theatres of the global conflict between capitalism and communism was Southeast Asia. From the 1920s until the end of the Cold War, the region was racked by international and internal wars that claimed the lives of millions and fundamentally altered societies in the region for generations. Most of the 11 countries that comprise Southeast Asia were host to the development of sizable communist parties that actively (and sometimes violently) contested for political power. These parties were the object of fierce repression by European colonial powers, post-independence governments and the United States. Southeast Asia communist parties were also the object of a great deal of analysis both during and after these conflicts. This book brings together a host of expert scholars, many of whom are either Southeast Asia–based or from the countries under analysis, to present the most expansive and comprehensive study to date on ideological and practical experiments with Marxism-Leninism in Southeast Asia. The bulk of this edited volume presents the contents of these revolutionary ideologies on their own terms and their transformations in praxis by using primary source materials that are free of the preconceptions and distortions of counterinsurgent narratives. A unifying strength of this work is its focus on using primary sources in the original languages of the insurgents themselves.

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